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  1. #16
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    Download the 30 day trial of Diskeeper 2010, http://www.diskeeper.com/trialware/t...eproducts.aspx a fantastic program. It stopped those spinning circle blues for me.

  2. #17
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fritz View Post
    I think something is hosed in my OS. I just rebooted a couple of times while updating software, and I started seeing sluggishness, spinny circles, and "(Not Responding)" applications within a few minutes of rebooting -- with CPU only 40-50% busy and only 1.4GB RAM in use. It shouldn't start running out of memory until it hits at least 2-2.2GB.

    I think it's something with the system itself. I'm pretty sure the system is clean malware-wise. I'm running Security Essentials and I just ran a Malwarebytes scan of my system. Everything is clean. As far as I can tell the system is in great shape -- except it runs like molasses.

    Maybe I just need to start over and re-install Vista. Again.


    EDIT: It's worse than I thought. I just rebooted again. All I had running was Thunderbird (plus whatever background processes), with less than 1GB in use, and I started getting spinning circles and "(Not Responding)" with that. This OS is just hosed. **SIGH** I'd be tempted to wipe it and install Win7 but this laptop is probably on its last legs, and I don't want to buy Win7 if I'm going to have to buy another laptop in a few months anyway. But I don't particularly want to reinstall Vista either.

    Aha! What you just provided is a critical detail.

    When the Task Manager says the CPU Usage is going sky-high (often up to 100%) you have a phenomenon called Redlining. This occurs when a driver or a program hooks onto Windows resources and does not let go, and then just hangs. It almost always happens when there is something misconfigured, or when the program is fighting with another program. The disk activity light is off, but the system memory or other Windows resources gets chewed up at an enormous rate.

    However, CPU usage, especially in a dual-core system with lots of RAM, may not tell the whole story. Other Windows resources, not easily viewable through the Task Manager, may be getting overstrained, and redlining can still be occurring even within reasonable CPU and RAM usage levels. All it takes is one process which does not let go of critical Windows resources. Examples are Firefox or Thunderbird not closing properly (usually due to a busy Extension), or my ProSet driver (which always used to hook resources into Windows Prefetch and never let them go, causing an explosion of the Page Files and a memory overload), or the incident between Super Antispyware and Threatfire which I cite below.

    I once had Super Antispyware's updater suddenly start redlining, causing a Blue Screen of Death. It took two weeks with SAS Tech Support to track down the conflict, but in short, Threatfire was blocking SAS Updater from writing its definitions downloads to its own protected directory. So much for "predictive heuristics" for malware protection! I dumped Threatfire and never looked back. On my new laptop I do not use active security programs which might conflict with Microsoft Security Essentials -- only the SAS Free scanner. My only firewall is the native Windows 7 Firewall, unaltered.

    Generally, redlining is not a Windows problem per se. That is, you may not have to reinstall the OS. What you will need to do is download and run Sysinternals Process Explorer and see which processes are running and using the most CPU cycles and other system resources when the redlining occurs. Even though you do not seem to have CPU or memory redlining, there are other kinds of redlining. If the problem continues, you could start seeing Blue Screens of Death, so resolving the conflicts is important.

    I include my examples, only to show you that this may be a lengthy and detailed investigation. But reinstalling Windows with your current selection of software and drivers, may only lead to disappointment if you do not track down and resolve any possible underlying conflicts which may be causing this redlining.
    -- Bob Primak --

  3. #18
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Caffrey View Post
    Download the 30 day trial of Diskeeper 2010, http://www.diskeeper...reproducts.aspx a fantastic program. It stopped those spinning circle blues for me.
    Betcha it won't help one bit. There is a conflict in there, not fragmentation.
    -- Bob Primak --

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